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Changes to aid in unemployment backlogs

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The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development has made organizational changes aimed to improve access to unemployment benefits’ self-service features and reduce a backlog of those who have applied for benefits.

“Decreasing the backlog means fewer follow-up calls, and opening access to self-service allows callers to directly find the information they need without any delays,”said Employment Security Administrator Linda Davis.

The unemployment phone system has 600 lines, and like many service centers, the system allows use of a PIN to access self-service functions like changing address or checking the status of a claim.

The department has reprogrammed the flow of calls so that self-service lines are available, even if all claims center staff are engaged with customers.

Self-service usage has increased from 3,467 services in January to 41,133 services in April.

The department has cut the backlog of unemployment decisions in half since last September, when 29,000 unemployment claims awaited decisions. That number has been reduced to 13,000.

“The claims center’s workload is directly tied to the backlog, as the majority of the calls coming in are claimants wanting to know when a decision was made on a claim and when their benefits will begin,” said Davis.

“Now that the backlog is at a manageable level, the claims center is able to deliver much more timely service.”

Self-service information is available by calling  1-877-813-0950.

Information is available from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday.